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UK Music Survey Reveals 1 in 5 Disabled People Face Discrimination At Work

UK Music is calling on music industry leaders to ensure disabled people and people with long term health conditions can realise their dreams by removing potential barriers to job opportunities.

Published: 22 April 2021 | 3:18 PM Updated: 05 May 2021 | 12:17 PM
A Black non-binary person with a leopard print cane presses a wall-mounted push button to open the cafe door. They are dressed in all black and have a shaved head, glasses, and a red lip on.
Challenging discrimination, educating staff, and listening to employees are ways of offering support. Photo credit: Chona Kasinger for Disabled and Here

The call comes as UK Music – an umbrella organisation of which the MU is a part – published new findings from its Workforce Diversity Survey that reveal one in five disabled people in the music industry has faced discrimination at work.

Building on UK Music’s Diversity Report published last October, this newly released data comes from UK Music’s 2020 Diversity Survey of more than 3,558 people.

The key findings of the UK Music Workforce Diversity Survey 2020 related to disabled people working in the music industry are:

  • 12% – equal to one in eight of those who responded to the survey – said they had a disability or long-term health condition.
  • 76% of those with a disability or long-term condition said their employers had made reasonable adjustments for their disability or condition.
  • However, 24% – almost one in four – said that their company or organisation they worked for had not made reasonable adjustments.
  • Of those who said they had a disability or long-term health condition, almost one in five people (18%) said they had faced discrimination because of their disability.
  • More than half (54%) of those with a disability or long-term condition said they had also faced discrimination on the grounds of age, gender, or socio-economic background.

Music industry organisations encouraged to look at how they can offer better support

UK Music is encouraging music industry organisations to look at how they can better support disabled people and people with long term health conditions at work.

These include challenging discrimination, educating staff, listening to employees with a disability or long-term health condition and implementing measures to support them.

UK Music would like an industry toolkit to be developed that would help organisations do more to improve opportunities for disabled people.

MU Head of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion commented on the MU's own work to begin to move access barriers:

“Part of the MU’s work to remove barriers disabled people face has been implementing our recently launched Disabled Musicians Membership, which is aimed at alleviating some of the extra financial pressure that can come with being disabled and ensures that disabled musicians can be represented properly if they do experience issues at work."

If you experience discrimination at work, please do contact your Regional Office for advice and support.

The data reveals we still have work to do

UK Music Chief Executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said:

“The music industry has made great progress in recent years when it comes to diversity and inclusion, and we are united in our determination to lead the way in this critical area.

“However, our latest data reveals we still have work to do on ensuring the industry is a safe and supportive place for people with a disability or long-term health condition.

“There is no place for discrimination of any kind in our industry, and it is shocking to hear some of the experiences that disabled people have faced in the workplace.

“Across the music industry, we must continue to do everything we can to remove the barriers that disabled people face and ensure there is true equality of opportunity, so that everyone can fulfil their potential.”

Communicate your access needs with an Access Rider

Talking about accessibility at work can be difficult, and most of the time you also have to educate the people around you about what you need.

An access rider is a document that outlines your disability or access needs, to let people you work with know how to ensure you have equal access to work. To try and make things simpler, the MU, in collaboration with the Ivors Academy, have developed an Access Rider template.

Download the Access Rider template and see our examples and guidance on how to use it.

Did you know we have a Disabled Network for members who identify as a D/deaf and disabled people?

Network members receive regular updates on our equalities work via newsletters, as well as the opportunity to contribute to MU consultation responses and take part in surveys.

As a network member there is no obligation for you to respond to emails, although the more you contribute, the more the MU can reflect members’ views.

Join the Disabled Network

Get MU membership today

From gig players to part-time teachers and professional instrumentalists, MU members can access specialist insurance for musicians. This includes accident cover, health schemes, travel insurance and car insurance add-ons through the Musicians’ Union.

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  • Get public liability insurance for musicians
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  • Access expert career advice, resources, and training events
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